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Chowrasia joins Vijay in the lead

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SMOOTH DRIVE: S.S.P. Chowrasia's flawless game saw him share the lead with Vijay Kumar. Photo: Sandeep Saxena
SMOOTH DRIVE: S.S.P. Chowrasia's flawless game saw him share the lead with Vijay Kumar. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Rakesh Rao

NEW DELHI: With two Indians in the lead and some lurking close by, the leaderboard at the half-way stage of the $400,000 Hero Honda Indian Open golf championship reflected exciting possibilities for some added celebrations over the Deepawali weekend at the Delhi Golf Club here.

With the weather getting better and the course at its best, a flawless seven-under 65 saw S. S. P. Chowrasia join overnight leader Vijay Kumar in the lead at 10-under 134 for two rounds on Friday.

Like Chowrasia, the seasoned Vijay Kumar also did nothing wrong during his effort of 68. The duo was a shot ahead of Unho Park (Australia) and Simon Dyson (England). Jyoti Randhawa improved upon his first-round 69 with a 67 and shared the fifth spot with Thailand's Prom Meesawat, who is second behind Jeev Milkha Singh on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.

Fruitful day

Randhawa's playing partners, Dyson and defending champion Thaworn Wiratchant also had a highly fruitful back-nine. Randhawa had four birdies on the last seven holes, Dyson finished with a hat-trick of birdies and four from the last five in his 67, and Wiratchant, needing a far-improved show after his first day's 76, fired a 66 by slotting five birdies on the last seven holes.

Chowrasia's waiting game paid off as he produced a risk-free display and picked up five shots from the four par-five holes on the 6888-yard course.

He started with an eagle on the first and birdied the sixth, eighth, ninth, 14th and the 18th for a highly rewarding day.

Vijay Kumar slotted three birdies on the front-nine for a 33 at the turn. On the back nine, his lone birdie came on the par-three fifth hole.

Rahil Gangjee, who jumped to the shared seventh spot after playing 24 holes, putted like a man possessed and found seven birdies against a lone bogey for a 66.

Mukesh Kumar stayed well on course for an honourable finish when he followed his first-day 70 with a 68 and shared the ninth spot with amateur Chirag Kumar and two others.

The scores (Indians unless stated): S. S. P. Chowrasia (69, 65) and Vijay Kumar (66, 68) 134; Unho Park (Aus) (70, 65) and Simon Dyson (Eng) (68, 67) 135; Jyoti Randhawa (69, 67) and Prom Meesawat (Tha) (68, 68) 136; Rahil Gangjee (71, 66) and Park Jun-Won (Kor) (72, 65) 137; Terry Pilkadaris (Aus) (69, 69), Mukesh Kumar (70, 68), Tony Carolan (Nzl) (71, 67) and Chirag Kumar (A) (69, 69) 138; C. Muniyappa (69, 70), Gaurav Ghei (71, 68), Mahal Pearce (Nzl) (70, 79) and Muhammad Munir (Pak) (70, 69) 139.

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